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  CSPAN    Tonight From Washington    News/Business. News.  

    September 8, 2010
    8:00 - 11:00pm EDT  

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spa-- [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> secretary of state clinton gave a wide-ranging foreign policy address discussing the nuclear programs in iran and north korea and her trip to a truce slum and at the palace -- to jerusalem and the palestinian territories. this is just over an hour. . .
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pan 2. >> as a reminder to one and all, the meeting is on t you nothose of familiar, we are an independent membership organization. we are a think tank and publisher. we are dedicated to increasing understanding of the world and policy changes facing the united states. we are gathered at a critical time. the last american combat troops were unjust withdrawn from iraq. 100,000 troops are helping to
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stabilize afghanistan. we are in the early days of the israeli-palestinian peace talks. we contend with the growing threat posed by the iranian and north korea and nuclear programs. we face climate change that defines this era and it will set up a flow of -- a set of global arrangements. there are a number of countries that have yet to determine that global rules and objectives. that has major adverse consequences for the future prosperity of the united states and for our capacity to lead in the world. fortunately, today's speaker, secretary of state hillary rodham clinton is experienced in managing the most difficult of situations. and i refer, of course, to her performance this summer has mother of the bride.
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secretary clinton is the 6 67th secretary of state and as you all know, she has not limited her trels to rhinebeck rhinebec since she became secretary, she has visited at last count, some 64 countries and that amounts to one out of every three countries in the united nations. she has racked up 350,000 miles in the process, has done all this in just over a year and a half. but still, well more than half a yearlonger than john c. calhoun. w, speaking of john c. calhoun, who served ration vice-president before becoming secretary of state, i couldn't help notice the speculation in some parts that secretary clinton might just find herself trading places with vice-president biden, becoming the democrat being candidate for vice-president in 2012. and all i can say is that there's precedent for this.
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there were actually -- there were two fellows named van buren and jefferson, and it worked out pretty well for the two of them. w speaking of the bags, today as learned -- past, today also marked the sex the time she has done so -- sixth time she has addressed the united nations without a broken arm and the second time she has been here has crety of state of the united states. so secretary clinton, it is a privilege and it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the council on foreign relations. [applause] >> thank you very much, richard, and it is a pleasure to be back here at the council with two working arms, that is something that emvery much happy and grateful for, and i thank you
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for referencing what has been the most difficult balancing act of my time as secretary of state. pulling off my daughter's wedding, which i kept telling people as i traveled around the world to all of the hot spots was much more stressful than anything else on my plate. it is a real delight to see so many friends and colleagues and to have this opportunity here once again to discuss with you where we are as a country, an where i hope we are headed. now, it's clear that many of us, an many in our audience are just coming off of summer vacation. yesterday at the state department, felt a little bit like the first day of school. everyone showed up for our morning meeting, and looking a lot healthier than they did when they left. and it is also obvious that
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there isn't any rest for any of us. the events of the past few weeks have kept us busy. we are working to support direct talks between the israelis and the palestinians, and nexteek, i will travel to egypt and jerusalem for the second round of these negotiations. in iraq, where our combat mission has ended, we are transferring and transitioning to an unprecedented civilian-led partnership. we are stepping up international pressure on iran to negotiate seriously on its nuclear program. we are working with pakistan as it recovers from devastating floods and continues to combat violent extremism an of course, the war in afghanistan is always at the top of our minds as well as our agenda. now, none of these challenges exist in ice lags. -- isolation.
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consider the middle east peace talks. at one level, they are bilateral negotiationsinvolving two people and a relatively small strip of land, but step back and it becomes clear how important the regional dimensions an even the global dimensions of what started last week are. and what a significant role institutions like the quartet, consisting of the united states, and russia, and the europe union and the u.n., as well as the arab league are playing. and equally, if not more so, how vital american participation really is. solving foreign policy problems today requires us to think both regionally and globally, to see the intersections and connections lengthing nations and regions and interests, to bring people together as only america can. i think the world is counting on us today, as it has in the past. when old adversaries need an honest broker on fundamental
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freedoms need a champion, people turn to us. when the earth shakes or rivers overflow their banks, when pan democrat he cans rage or simeonering tensions burst into violence, the world looks to us. i see it on the faces of the people i meet as i travel, not just the young pele who still dream about america's promise of opportunity and equality, but also ssoned diplomats and political leaders, who whether or not they admit it, see the principled commitment and can-do spirit that comes with american engagement and they do look to america. not just to engage, but to lead. and nothg makes me prouder than to represent this great nation in the far corners of the world. i am the daughter of a man who grew up in the depression, and trained younsailors to fight in the pa second. -- pacific and i am the mother of a young woman who is part of a generation of americans who are engaging the world in new
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and exciting ways and in both those stories, i see the promise and the progress of america. and i have the most profound faith in our people. it has never been stronger. now, i know that these are difficult days for many americans. but difficulties and adversities ha never defeated or deflated this country. throughout our history, through hot wars andold, through economic struggles and the long march to a more perfect union, americans have always risen to the challenges we have faced. that is who we are. it is in our d.n.a. we do believe there are no limits on what is possible or what can be achieved. and now, after years of war, and uncertainty, people are wondering what the feature holds at home and abroad. so let me say it clearly.
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united states can, must, and will lead in this new century. indeed, the complexities and connections of today's world have yielded a new american moment, a moment when our global leadership is essential, even if we must often lead in new ways. a moment when those things that make us who we are as a nation, our openness and innovation, our determination and devotion to core values have never been more needed. this is a moment that must be seized. through hard work and bold decisions. so lay the foundions for lasting american leadership for decades to come. but now, this is no argument for america to go it alone. r from it. the world looks to us because america has the reach and resolve to mobilize the shared effort needed to solve problems
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on a global scale. in defense of our own interest, but also as a force for progress. in this, we have no ride vampires. for the united states, global leadership is both a responsibility and an unparalleled opportunity. when i came to the council on foreign relations a little over a year ago, to discuss the obama administration's vision of american leadership in a changing world, i called for a new global architecture that could help nations come together as partners to solve shared problems. today, i'd like to expand on this idea, but especially to explain how we are putting it into practice. now, architecture is the art and science of designing structures that serve our common purposes, built to last, and to withstand stress. and at is what we seek to build. a network of alliances and partnerships, regional organizations, and global
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institutions that is durable and dynamic enough to help us meet today's challenges and adapt to threats that we cannot even conceive of, just as our patience never dreamt of melt willing glaciers or dirty bombs. we know this can be done because president obama's predecessors in the white hse an mine in the state department d it before. after the second world war, the nation that had built e transcontinental railroad, the assembly line, the skyscraper, turned its attention to constructing the pillars of global cooperation. the third world war that so many feared never came. and many millions of people were lifted out of poverty, and exercised their human rights for the first time. those were the benefits of a global architecture forged over many years, by american leaders from both political parties. but this architecture served a different thyme and a different world.
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as president obama has said, today it is buckling under the weight of new threats. the major powers are at peace, but new actors, good and bad, are increasingly shaping international affairs. the challenges we face are more complex than ever and so are the responses needed to meet them. that is why we are building a global architecture that reflects and harnesses the realities of the 21st century. we know that alliances, partnerships and institutions cannot and do not solve problems by themselves. only peoples and nations solve problems, but an architecture can make it easier to act effectively by supporting the coalition forging and compromise building that is the daily fare of diplomacy. it can make it easier to identify common interests an convert them to common action. and it can help integrate emerging powers into an
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international community with clear obligations and expeations. we have no illusions that these goals can be achieved overnight or that countries will suddenly cease to have divergent interests. we know that the test of our leadership is how we manage those differences and how we galvanize nations and people's around their commonnities, even when they do have diverse histories, unequal resources and competing world views, an we know that our approach to solving problems must vary from issue to issue and partner to partner. american leadership therefore must be as dynamic as the challenges we face. but there are two constants of our leadership, which lie at the heart of the president's national security strategy, released in may, and which run through everything we do. first, national renewal, aimed at strengthening the sources of american power, especially our
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economic might and moral authority. this is about more than ensuring we have the presources we need to conduct foreign policy, although that is critically important. i remember when i was a young girl, i was stirred by president eisenhower's assertion that education would help us win the cold war. i really took it to heart. i didn't like mathematics, but i figured i had to study it for my country. s also believed that we needed to invest in hour people, and their talents. and in our infrastructure. president eisenhower was right. america's greatness has always flowed in large part from the dynamism of our onomy and the creativity of our people. today, more than ever, our ability to exercise global leadership depends on building a strong foundation here at home. that's why rising debt and
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crumbling infrastructure pose very real long-term national security threats. president obama understands this. you can see it in the new economic initiatives, that he announced this week, and in his relentless focus object turning the economy around. the second constant is international diplomacy. good old fashioned diplomacy, aimed at rallying nations to solve common problems and achieve shared aspirations. as dean atchison put it in 195, the ability to evehicle support from -- evoke support from others is as constants ability to repair. we have strengthened institutions that provide incentives for cooperation, sincentives for sitting on the sidelines, and defenses against those who would undermine global progress. and we've championed the values
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that are at the core of the american character. now, there should be no mistake, course, this administratio is also committed to maintaining the greatest militarily in the his thor of the world and -- history of the world and is needed to vigorously defend ourselves and our friends. after more than a year and a half, we have begun to see the dividends of this strategy. we are advaing america's interests andaking progress on some of our most pressing challenges. today, we can say with confidence that this model of american leader high pressure, which brings every tool at our disposal, to be put to work on behalf of our national interests, works and that it offers the best hope in a dangerous world. i'd like it outline several steps we're taking with respect to implementing this strat givment -- strategy. first, we have turned to our closest allies, the nations that share our most fundamental values and interests and our commitment to solving common problems.
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from europe and north america to east asia and the pacific, we are renewing and deepening the alliances that are the corner stone of global security and prosperity. and let me safe a few words in particular. about europe. in november, i was privileged to help mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall which closed the door on europe's broken past. and this summer, in poland, we mathe 10th anniversary of the community of demracies, which looks ahead to a brighter tomorrow. at both evts, he was reminded of how far we have come together. with strength, we draw from the common well spring of our values and aspirations. the bonds between europe and america were forged through war and watchful peace. but they are rooted in our shared commitment to freedom, democracy, and human dignity. today, we are working with our allies there on nearly every global challenge.
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president obama and i have reached out to strengthen both our bilateral and multilateralities in europe and the post lisbon. u. is developing an expanded global role and our relationship is growing and changing as a result. now, the will be some challengessals we adjust to influential new players, such as the e.u. parliament, but these are debates among friends that will always be secondary to the fundamental interests andalues we share. and there is no doubt that a stronger e.u. is good for america, and good for the world. and of course, nato remains the world's most successful alliance. together, with our allies, including new nato members in central and eastern europe, we are crafting a new strategic concept, that will help us meet not only traditional threats, but also emerging ones, like cybersecurity and nuclear proliferation. just yesterday, president obama and i discussed these issues, with nato secretary-general
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rasmussen. after the united states was attacked on 9-11, our allies invoked article 5 of the nato charter for the first tile. they joined us in the fight against al qaeda and the taliban. and after president obama refocused the mission in afghanistan, they contributed thousands of new troops and significant technical assistance. we honor the sacrifices our allies continue to make and recognize that we are always strongest when we work together. a core principle of all of our alliances is shared responsibility. each nation must step up to do its part. american leadership does not mean we do everything ourselves. we contribute our share often the largest share, but we also have high expectaons of the governments and peoples we work with. helping other nations develop that capacity to solve their own problems and participate in solving other shared problems
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has lo been a hallmark of american leadership. our contributions are well known to the preconstruction of europe, to the transformation of japan and germany. we moved them from aggressors to allies, to the growth of south korea into a vibrant democracy that now contributes to global progress. these are among some of american foreign policy's proudest achievements. in this interconnected age, america's security and prosperity depend more than ever on the ability of others to take responsibility for defusing threats and meeting challenges in their own countries and regions. that's why a second step in our strategy for global leadership is to help develop the capacity of developing partners. to help countries obtain the cools and support they need to solve their own problems, to help people lift tmselves, their families and their societies out of poverty, away from extremism, and towards sustainable progress. we in the obama administration view development as a strategic
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economic and moral imperative, it is central to advancing american interests, as central as diplomacy and defense. our approach is not however development for development's sake. it is an integrated strategy for solving problems. look at the work to build institutions and spur economic development in the palestinian territories. something that jim wolfson knows firsthand. the united states invests hureds of millions of dolrs to build palestinian capacity because we know that progress on the ground improves security, and helps lay the foundation for a future palestian state. and it creates more favorable conditions for negotiations. the confidence that the new palestinian security force has displayed has affected the calculus of israeli leadership and the united states was behind building that security force along with other partners like
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jordan, but the principal responsibility rests on the decisions made by the palestinian authority themselves. so with our help, and their courage and commitment, we see progress that influences negotiations and holds out a greater promise for an eventual agreement. now, this is the right thing to do of course. we agree with that. but make no mistakes. it is rooted in our understanding that when all people are given more tools of opportunity, they are more willing to actually take risks for peace. and that's particularly true when it comes to women. you knew i would not get through this speech without mentioning women and women's rights. we believe strongly that investing in opportunities for women drives social and economic progress, that benefits not only their families, and societies, t has a rebound effect that benefits others, including us as well. similarly, investments in
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countries like bangladesh and ghana bet on a future that they will not only solve their rather difficult challenges of poverty, but then helping to be bulwarks that send a different message to their regions. we take in to account also the countries that are growing rapidly and also, exercising influence. countries like china hand india, turkey, mexico, brazil, indonesia, south africa as well as russia. our third major step therefore has been to deepen engagement with these emerging centers of influence. we and our allies, and indee people everywhere, have a stake in their playing constructive, regional and global roles, because being a 21st century power means having to accep a share of the burden of solving common problems. and of abiding by a set of the rules of the road, so to speak, on everything in intellectual
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property price to fundamental freedoms. so through expanded bilateral consultation and within the context of regional and global institutions, we do expect these countries to begin to assume greater responsibility. for example, in our most recent strategic and economic dialogue in china, for the first time, development was on the agenda. something that the chinese are doing, in conjunction with their commercial interests, but which we wanted to begin to talk about. so that we could better cooperate and we could perhaps share lessons learned about how best to pursue development. in one country in africa, we're building a hospital, the chinese are building a road, we thought it was a good idea that the road would actually go to the hospital. it's that kind of discussion that we think can make a difference for the people that we are both engaged with. india, the world's largest democracy, has a very large convergence of fundamental
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values and a broad range of both national and regional interests, and we are laying the foundation for an indispensable partnership. president obama will use his visit in november to thank hour relationship to the next level. with russia, when we took office, it was amid cooling to cold relation he is. and a turn to cold war suspicion. now, this may have invigorated spy novelists and arm chair strategists, by anyone serious about solving global problems, without russia and the united states working together, little would be achieved. so we refocused the relationship. we offered a relationship based on not only mutual respect, but also mutual responsibility. and in the course of the last 18 months, we have a historic new arms reduction treaty, which the senate will take up next week, cooperation with china and the
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u.n. security council on tough new sanctions against both iran and north korea, a transit agreement to support our efforts in afghanistan, a new bilateral presidential commission and civil society exchange that are foing closer people to people ties and of course as we were reminded this past summer, the spy novelists still have plenty to write about, so it's kind of a win-win. working with these emerging powers is not always smooth or easy. disagreements are inevitable an on certain shall use suchs human rights with china horrussian occupation with georgia, we simply do t see eye to eye and the united states will not mess hesitate to speak out an stand our grounds. en these nations do not accept the responsibility that accrues wi expanding influence, we will do all that we can to encourage them to change course, while we will press ahead with other partners, but we know it will be difficult, if not impossible, to forge the kind of future that we expect in the
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21st century, without enhanced comprehensive cooperation. so our goal is to establish productive relationships that survive the times when we do not agree, an that enable us to continue to work together. and a central em. of that is -- element of that is to engage directly with the people of these nations. technology and the speed of communication, along with the spread of democracy at let in technology has empowered people to speak up and demand a say in their own futures. public opinions and passions matter even in authoritarian states. so in nearly every country i visit, i don't just meet with government officials. in russia, distribution centers an interview on one of the few remaining independent radio stations. in saudi arabia, i held a town hall at a women's college. in pakistan, i answered questions from every journalist, student and business leader we could find. while we expand our
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relationships therefore with the emerging centers of influence, we are working to engage them with their hone publics. -- own publics. thyme and time again, i hear as i do interviews from indonesia to the democratic republic of congo to brazil, how novel it seems to people that an official would come and take questions from the public. so we're not only engaging the public, and expanding and explaining america's values and views, we're also sending a message to those leaders. and as we do so, we are making it clear that we eect more from them. and that we do want the kind of challenges that we face to be addressed in a regional context. think about the complex dynamics around violent extremism, both in afghanistan and pakistan, and emerging out of those two countries to the rest of the world. or the process of reintegrating iraq into its neighborhood,
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which is a very tough neighborhood indeed. regional dynamics will not remain static, and there are a lot of other players who are working day and night to influence the outcomes of those particular situations. and we know too that other emerging powers, like china and brazil, have their own notions about what the right outcome would be, or what regional institutions should look like, and they are busy pursuing them. so our friends, our allies and people around the world who share hour values depend on us to remain robustly engaged, so the fourth step in our strategy has been to reinvigorate america's commitment to be an active transatlantic, transpacific and hemispheric leader. in a series of speeches an ongoing consultation's with our partners, we've laid out core principles for regiol. look at the asia-pacific region, when we took office, there was
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the perception, fair or not, that america was absent. so we made it clear from the beginning that we were back. we reaffirmed r bonds with close allies, like soh korea, japan, and australia, an we deepened our engagement with china and india. the asia pacific currently has few robust institutions to foster -- reduce the friction of competition, so we began building a more coherent regional architecture with the united states deeply involved. on the economic front, we've expanded our relationship with apec, which receives 60% of our exports. we want to realize the benefits from greater economic integration. in order to do that, we have to be willing to play. to this end, we are working to ratify a free trade agreement with south korea, we're pursuing a regional agreement with the nations of the transpacific partnership and we know that th will help create no jobs and opportunities here at home. we've also decided to engage
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with the east asia summit, encouraging its development into a foundational security and political institution. i will be representing the united states, at this year's east asia summit in hanoi, loading up to president -- leading up to presidential participation in 2011 and in southeast asia, osion actually encompasses more than 600 million people in its member nations. there is more u.s. bills investment in the asean nation than in china, so we have bolsred our relationship by signing the treaty of cooperation, announcing our intention to open a mission and name an ambassador to asean and a commitment to holding an hume u.s.-asean commits, because we know the asia pacific region will grow in impoance and developing these institutions will establish habits of cooperation that will be vital to stability and prosperity. now, effective institutions are
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just as crucial at the global level, soour fifth step has been to reengage with the global institutions and to work to modernize them, to meet the evolving challenges we face. we obviously need institutions that are flexible, inclusive, complementary, instead of just competing with each other over turf and jurisdiction. we need them to play productive patrols an enforce the systems of rhts and responsibilities. now, the u.n. remains the singlemost important global institutions. we are constantly reminded of its value. the security council enacting sanctions against eye rnbs and north korea, -- iran and north korea, peacekeepers patrolling the streets of monrovia and port-au-prince. anmost presently, the u.n. general assembly establishing a new entity called u.n. women, expanding opportunities for women and girls and tackle the violen and discrimination they face, but we are also constantly
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reminded of its limitations. it is difficult, as many of you in this audience know, for the u.n.'s 192 member states, to achieve consensus on institutional reform, including and especially reforming the security council. we believe the united states has to play a role in reforming the u.n., an we favor security council reform that enhances the u.n.'s overall performance and effectiveness and efficiency and we equally and strongly support operational reforms that enable u.n. field missions to deploy more rapidlyith adequate numbers of well equipped and well trained troops andolice, and with the quality of leadership and civilian expertise they require. we will not only embrace but we will advocate management reforms, and savings that prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. now, the u.n. was never intended to tacklevery challenge, nor shou it, so we are working with other organizations to
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respond to the global financial crisis, we elevated the g-20, we convened the first ever nuclear security summit, new or old, the effectiveness of institutions depends on the commitment of their members and weave seen a level of commitment to sees enterprises, that we will continue to nurture. now, our efforts on climate chang and i see our commercial envoy, todd stern here, offer an example of how we are working through multiple venues and mechanisms. the united nations framework convention on climate change allows all of us, developed and developing, authority, south, east and west, to work within a single venue to meet this shared challenge. but, we also launched the major economies forum to focus on the biggest emitters, including ourselves and when negotiations in copenhagen reached an impasse, president obama and i went into a meeting with china, india, south africa and brazil, to try to forge pa compromise, and then with our colleagues from europe and elsewhere, we
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fashioned a deal that while far from perfect, saved of the summit from failure, and represents progress we can build on, because for the first time, all major economies made national commitments to curb carbon emissions and report with transparency on their mitigation efforts. so we know that there's a lot to be done on substantive issues, and there must continue to be an emphasis on democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, so that they are cemented in to the foundations of these institutions. this is somethin that i take very seriously. because there's no point in trying to build institutions for the 21st century, that don't act to counter repression and resist pressure on human rights. that extend fundamental freedoms over time, to places where they have too long been denied. and that is our sixth major step. we are upholding and defenng the universal values that are enshrined in the u.n. charter
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and th universal declaration of human rights. because today, everywhere, these principles are under threat. in too many places, new democracies are struggling to grow strong roots. authoritarian regimes are cracking down on civil society and pluralism. some leaders see democracy as an inconvenience that gets in its way of the convenient exercise ofational power, so this world view must be confronted and challenged everywhere. democracy needs defending. the struggle to make human rights a human reality needs a champion and this works starts at home, where we have rejected the false choice between our security and our values. it continues around the world, where human rights are always on our diplomat eck and development agendas, even with nations on whose cooperation we depends for a wide range of issues, such as egypt, china and russia. we're committed to defending those values on the digital
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frontiers of the 21stentury. a lot has been said about our 21st century state craft, and our e diplomacy, but we really believe that it's animportant additional tool for us to utilize. and in krakow this summer, i announced the creation of a new fund to support civil sew seat and embattled ngo's around the world. a continuing focus of u.s. pol civil -- policy. now, how do all these steps, deepening relations with allies and emerging powers, strengthening institutions and shared values work together to advance our interests? well, one need only look at the effort we've taken this past year. to stop iran's nuclear activities and its serial non-compliance with s international obligations. now, there is still a lot of work to be done, but we are approaching of the iranian challenge as an example of american learship in action. first, we began by making the united states a full partner, an active participant in international diplomatic efforts
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regarding iran. we had been on the sidelines and frankly, that was not a very satisfying place to be. through our continued willingness tongage iran direct lurks we have reenergized our considerations with our allies and are removing all of those excuses for lack of progress. s.e.c., we have sought to frame the issue within the global non-prproliferation regime. we haveenewed our own disarmament efforts. our deepened support for global institutions such ashe iaea underscores the authority of the i want national system and iran on the other hand continues to single itself out through its own actions, drawing even criticism for its refusal to rmit iaea inspectors to visit from russia and china in the last days. itand third, we have strengthend our relationship with those countries whose help we need, if
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diomacy is to be successful, through classic, shoe leather diplomacy, we've built pa broad consensus that will welcome iran back into the community of nations, if it meets its obligationsand will likewise hold iran accountable if it continues its defiance. : many other nations are implementing their own additional measures. we believe iran is beginning to feel the impact of these sanctions. the international financial sectors are also starting to recognize the risks of doing business with iran. sanctions are not answered in themselves. they are the building blocks of leverage for negotiated solutions. the chores for iran's leaders
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are clear. -- the choice for iran's leaders are clear. we will see how iran decides. our task going forward is to continue to develop this approach. to develop tools that we need. we have to strengthen civilian power. when i was here last year we were just at the beginning of making the case to congress we had to have more diplomats and experts. we had to have greater civil service personnel. congress has appropriated funds for 1100 civil service offers -- civil service officers. across the board we need to rethink and recalibrate. in a time of tight budgets we not only have to shore resources
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are spent wisely, we have to make the case to the taxpayer and the congress this is an important investment. that is what i launched the diplomacy review, a wholesale review of state and u.s. a aideed. -- u.s. aid. we recognized the scope of the efforts we have undertaken. i have a lot of wonderful advice from my predecessors. one of the most common pieces of advice is you can manage the building or manage the world. you cannot do both. we are not trying to do it alone. we are forging a partnership with the defense department. of gates has been one of the strongest advocates of the position i am expressing today.
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he is encouraging the congress to give us funds we asked for, but there is a legitimate question. how can you try to manage or address these problems? our response -- there is nothing that doesn't come to the forefront of public awareness. what do we put on the back burner? do we sideline development? do we put some conflicts on hold? do we quit trying to prevent other conflicts from heating up? i don't think that's what is possible or desirable? it is not what americans do, but it requires a lot of patience. strategic patience. you know, when our troops come home as they are from iraq and eventually from afghanistan, we'll still be involved in
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diplomatic and development efforts trying to rid the world of nuclear dangers and turn back climate change, end poverty, you know, quell the epidemic of hiv/aids, tackle hunger and disease. that's not the work not of a year or even a presidency, but of a lifetime, and it is the work of generations. america has made generational commitments to building the kind of world that we wanted to inhabit for many decades now. we cannot turn away from that responsibility. we are a nation that has always believed we have the power to shape our own destiny and to cut a new and better ph and, frankly, to bring along people who are like-minded from around the world. so we will continue to do evything we can to exercise the best traditions of american leadership at home and abroad, to build that more peaceful and prosperous future for our children and for children everywhere. thank you. [applause]
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>> well, thank you, and i will ask a slightly longer first question than i normally would while you fumble with that. >> thank you very much. very kind of you. >> the old stall tactic. filibustering. you may recall that. >> i do. but i never knew it would be so common. [laughter] >> yes. foreign relations, we're trying to keep up. we're trying to keep up. touche. let me start where -- you okay? >> yeah. >> let me start where you begin -- where you ended, rather, which is with all these things we want to do, and you called for strategic patience in afghanistan and so forth. yet the united states is soon approaching a point where the scale or size of our debt will
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exceed our gdp. it's a question of when more than if. where does national security contribute to the solution to running deficits of $1.5 trillion a year, oro we continue to carry out a foreign and defense policy as if we were not seriously resource-constrained? >> richard, first, you know, as i said, i think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways. it undermines our capacity to act in our own interests, and it does constrain us where nstraint may be undesirable. and it also sends a message of weakness internationally. i mean, it is very troubling to me that we are losing the ability not only to chart our own destiny, but to, you know,
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have the leverage that comes from this enormously effective economic engine that has powered american values and interests over so many years. so i don't thinke have a choice. it's a question of how we, how we decide to deal with this debt and deficit. i mean, you know, it is -- we don't need to go back and sort of relitigate how we got to where we are, but it is fair to say that, you know, we fought two wars without paying for them, and we had tax cuts that were not paid for either. and that has bee a very deadly combination to fiscal sanity and responsibility. so the challenge is how we get out of -- challenge is how we get out of it by making the right decisions rather than the wrong decisions. i mean, it is going to be very difficult for those decisions, and i know there's an election
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going on, and i know that i am by law out of politics, but i will say that this is not just a decision for the congress, it's a decision for the country. and it's not a republican or a democratic decision. and there are a lot of people who know more about what needs to be done and who, frankly, have a responsible view whose voices are not being heard right now. and think that is a great disservice to our nation whether one is a republican or a democrat, a conservative, progressive, whatever you call yourself, there is no free lunch. and we cannot pretend thathere is without doing grave harm to our country and our future generations. so when you specifically say, well, what about, you know, diplomacy, development and defense, you know, we will have to take our share of the burden of meeting the fial targets that c dra us out of this deep hole we're in, but we've
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got to be smart about it. and i think from both my perspective and bob gates' perspeive -- and we've talked about this a lot, you know -- bob has made some very important recommendations that are not politically popular but which come wit a very well-thought-out policy. and what i've tried to do is to say, look, we're going to try to be smarte more effective in our qddr. we're recommendg changes in personnel policies, in all kinds of approaches that will better utilize what we have. but we need it to get a little bit more robust in order to catch up to our responsibilities. quick final point on that, you know, when our combat troops move out of iraq as they've been, that will save about $15 billion. that's a net win for our treasury, and it's the policy that we have committed to along with the iraqis. the congress cuts my budget of
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the state department and usaid for trying to pick up the pieces that we're left with. you know, we now have responsibility for the police-training mission, for opening up consulates that have to be secure. so even though our troops are coming down and we're saving money and what we're asking for is considerably less than the $15 billion that we are saving by having the troops leave, the congress cuts us. and so, you know, we have to get a more sensible, comprehensive approach. and, you know, bob and i have talked about, you know, trying to figure out how to present a national security budget. it's a mistake to look at all of these items -- foreign aid, defense, diplomatic aid -- as stove pipes because we know that you have to be more integrated. so let's start thinking from a budget perspective about how to be more integrated. so there's a lot that we can do on our side to help, but the bottom line is that the public and the congress and the
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administration have to make so very tough decisions, and i hope we make the right decisions. >> let me just follow up on that because you broached the political issue. i don't have a chris call ball -- crystal ball better than anyone else's, but let's assume republicans pick up quite a few seats in the house, a few in the senate, so government is more divided come the new congress when it takes office early next year. what does that mean for you? what are the opportunities, what are the problems in that for being secretary of state? >> well, i won't answer that as a political question because i don't wa to cross my line here. but i will say that, you know, i have found a lot of support for what we're trying to do on both sides of the aisle in both houses. and i think we will continue to have that, and i'm hoping that we can maybe reestablish something of a detente when it
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mes to foreign policy that cuts across any partisan divide. like take the stark treaty. you know, we have unanimous support for that. our two chief negotiators, rose and ellen are here, and they did a terrific job, and we've had a very positive endorsement of it by former secretaries of state and defense of both parties, the joint chiefs have come out, everybody's come out for it. and, you know, it's a political issue. i wish it weren't because mt of these treaties, you know, ss 95-0, 90- they have huge overwhelming majorities in the senate. but we know that we have, you know, political issues that we have to address which we are and talking to those who have some questions. but i hope at the end of the day the senate will say, you know, some things should just be
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beyond any kind of election or partisan calculation and that everybody will pull together and we'll get that s.t.a.r.t. treaty done which i know from my own conversations, it's seen as a rely important symbol of our commitment to continue working with the russians. >> just one last question, then i'll open it up to our members. you're about, as you said, to head back to the middle east for the resumption of the israeli/palestinian talks. the op-ed pages have been filled, i would say the majority of the pieces haveeen quite pessimistic. why are the pessimists wrong? [laughter] >> well, i think they're wrong because i think that both sides and both leaders recognize that there may not ever be another chance. i think for most israeli leaders that i have known and worked with and especially those coming from sort of the right of israeli politics which the prime
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minister does, you know, it's like mario cuomo's famous line, you know, they campaign this poetry, and they govern in prose, and the prose is really challenging. you know, you look at where israel is and the threats it faces demographically, technologically, ideologically, and the idea of striking a peace deal wh a secular palestinian authority that is committed to its own people's economic future makes a lot of sense if be it can worked out. from abbas he was probably t earliest and at times the only palestinian leader who called for a two-state solution going back probably 20, 30 years, and for him this is a culmination of of a life commitment. and i think that the arab league
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initiative, the peace initiative put the arab, most arab and muslim countries on record as saying that they could live with and welcome a two-state solution. fifty-seven countries incling some we know didn't mean it, but most have followed through in commitments to it has changed the atmosphere. so i know how difficult it is, and i know the internal domestic political considerations that each leader has to contend with, but i think there's a certain momentum, you know? we have some challenges in the early going that we have to get over, but i think that we have a real shot here. >> great. let's open it up, and what i'll ask is people to identify themselves, wa for a microphone and, please, limit yourself to one question and be as short as you can. sir, i don't know your name, but right there. >> how are you, secretary
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clinto my name's travis atkins, i'm with the council on foreign relations focusing on sudan this year, and my question is you mentioned darfur once in your talk. if you could elaborate a little bit on our ramped-up efforts in sudan as we head towards the referendum therein january. >> well, thank you, thanks for asking, and thanks for your work on sudan. we have, we have a very difficult set of challenges in sudan. some of you in this audience, both those of you who were in government before like john negroponte and others, you know, you know this firsthand. the situation in the darfur is dangerous, difficult, not stable. but the situation north/south is a ticking time bomb of enormous coequence. so we are ramping up our efforts to bring the parties together,
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north and south, the african union, others, to focus on this referendum which h not been given the attention it needs both because the south is not quite capable of summoning the resources to do it, and the north has been preoccupied and is not inclined to do it because it's pretty clear what the outcome will be. the african union chief under um becky has been working on it, so we are upping our diplomatic efforts. we are increased our presence in juba, we have set up, opened a kind of consulate there. as some of you know, prince has signed on to help with scott and his team -- >> until last week, a senior fellow here. >> that's right. and assistant secretary johnny
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carson. it's really all hands on deck so that we're trying to convince the mort and south and all the other interested parties who care about the comprehensive peace agreement to weighing in to gting this done. the time frame is very short, pulling together this referendum is going to be difficult. we're going to need a lot of help from ngos, the carter center and others who are willing to help implement the referendum. but the real problem is what happens when the inevitable happens and the refer dumb is passed and the south declares independence? so simultaneously we're trying to begin negotiations to work out some of those intractable problems. what happens to the oil revenues? i mean, if you're in the north and all of a sudden you think a line's going to be drawn and you're going to lose 80% of the oil rev knews, you're not a very enthusiastic participant. what are the deals that can possibly be made that will limit the potential of violence.
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and even if we did everything perfectly and everyone else, you know, the norwegians, the brits, everybody who's wehing in on this did all that they could, the reality is that this is going to be a very hard decision for the north to accept. and so we've goto figure out some ways to make it worth their while to peacefully accept an independent south and for the south to recognize that unless they want more years of warfare and no chance to build their own new state, they've got to make some accommodations with the north as well. so that's what we're looking for. if you have any ideas from your study, let us know. [laughter] >> turn to carla hills. >> secretary clinton, first of all, thank you for a really far-ranging, extraordinarily interesting talk. you mentioned strategies that are regional, and i'd like you to just say a word more about
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this hemisphere. you gave a wonderful speech at the border of mexicohere you asserted that we had responsibility for the drugs coming north and the guns going south. talk a little bit about how we are implementing strategies to turn that around and, also, to gain friendships that would be helpful throughout latin america. >> well, first, carla, thank you for asking about this hemisphere because it is very much on our minds, and we face an incrsing threat from a well-organized network drug-trafficking threat that is in some cases morphing into or making common cause with what we would consider an
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insurgency. in mexico and in central america. and we are working very hard to assist the mexicans in improving their law enforcement ask their intelligence -- and their intelligence, their capacity to detain and prosecute those whom they arrest. i give president calderon very high marks for his courage and his commitment. this is a really tough challenge, and these drug cartels are now showing more and more indices of insurgency, you know? all of a sudden car bombs show up which weren't there before. so it's becoming, it's looking more and more like colombia looked 20 year ago where the narco traffickers control certain parts of the country. not signifant parts. in colombia it got to a point where more than a third of the
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country, nearly 40% of the country at one time or another was controlled by the insurgents, by park, but it's going to take a combination of improved institutional capacity and better law enforcement and, where appropriate, military support for that law enforcement. you know, marry the political will to be able to prevent this from spreading and to try to beat it back. mexico has capacity, and they're using that capacity, and they've been very willing to take advice. you ow, they're wanting to do as much of it on their own as possible, but we stand ready to help them. but the small countries in central america do not have that capacity, and the newly-inaugurated president of costa rica, president chinchilla, you know, said we need help, and we need a much more vigorous u.s. presence. so we are working to try to enhance what we have in central america. we hear the same thing from our
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caribbean friends, so we have an initiative that caribbean basin security initiative, and our relationship is not all about drugs and violence and crime. but, unfortunately, that often gets the headlines. we're also working on more economic programs, we're working on millennium challenge grants, we're working on a lot of other ways of bolstering economies and governments to improve rule of law. but this is on the top of everyone's mind when they come to speak with us. and i know that plan colbia was controversial. i was just in colombia, and there were problems and there were mistakes, but it worked. and it was bipartisan, started, you know, in the clinton administration, continued in the bush administration, and i think president santos will try to do evything he can to remedy the problems of the past while continuing to, you know, make
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progress against the insurgency. and we need to figure out what are the equivalents for central america, mexico and the caribbean. and that's not sy because these, you know, you put your finger on it. i mean, those drugs come up through bolivia, peru, colombia, through central america, southern mexico to the border, and we consume them. and those guns, you know, those guns legal and illegal keep flooding along with all of the mayhem. it's not only guns, it's weapons, it's arsenals of all kinds that come south. so i feel a real sense of responsibility to do everything we can. and, again, we're working hard to come up with, you know, approaches that will actually deliver. >> speaking of guns, i'm going to be shot if be i don't ask a question that comes from one of
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our national members, and thanks to the ipad, i can ask it. several have written in about the impact of the mosque debate in new york, about the threat to burn cu rans, how does this complicate your life? [laughter] >> well -- you know, i mean, we're a country o what, 310 million plus right now, and, i mean, it's regrettable that a pastor in gainesville, florida, th a church of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous d distressful, disgraceful plan and get, you know, the world's attention, but that's the world we live in right now. i mean, it doesn't in any way represent america or americans or american government or american religious or political leadership. and we are, as you've seen in the last few days, you know,
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speaking out. general petraeus made the very powerful point that as seem seemingly, you know, small a group of people doing this, the fact is that it will have potentially great harm for our troops. so we are hoping that the pastor decides not to do this. we're hoping against hope tt if h does, it won't be covered. [laughter] as a, as a, you know, an act of patriotism. but i think that it, you know, it's unfortunate. i mean, it's not who we are, and we just have to constantly be demonstrating by our words and actions. and as i remind, you know, my friends around the world, in the environment in which we all now operate, anybody with an
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iphone, anybody with a blog can, you know, put something out there which is outrageous. i mean, we went through the cartoon controversy, we went through the facebook controversy in pakistan, ewe kit mchale who's our undersecretary for public diplomacys on the front lines of, you know, pushing back on all of this all the time, and so we want to be judged by who we are as a nation, not by something that is so aberrational, and we'll make that case as strongly as possible. >> time for one more? >> sure. >> okay. let me, first of all, apologize to the 283 of you whose questions will not get answered, and let me also say that after the secretary completes her next answer, if people would just remain seated while we get you out quickly and safely. >> safely, do you think they're going to storm the stage? [laughter] >> this is the -- >> i don't know. i'm looking at this audience, there's -- [laughter]
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there's a few people i think that might. [laughter] >> thanks, richard. secretary, it's a pleasure, and i appreciate the responsibility on my shoulders. i have two very quick ones. >> actually one quick one. >> very easy ones. is it the role of the united states to support the green movement, the opposition in iran? and if so, how should we be doing that? and secondly, you hardly mentioned north korea. is u.s. policy now just to let north korea stew in its own juices until the next kim takes over? thank you. >> well, with respect to the first question, it is definitely our policy to support freedom and human rights inside iran. and we have done so by speaking out. we have done so by trying to equip iranians with the tools, particularly the technology tools that they need to be able to communicate with each other to make their views known. we have strongly condemned the
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actions of the iranian government and continue to do so. i don't think there's any doubt that iran is morphing into a military dictatorship with, you know, sort of religious ideological veneer. it is becoming the province of the iranian revolutionary guard, and in concert with some of the clerical and political leadership. and i dot think that's what the iranian revolution for a republic of iran, an islamic republic of iran was ever meant to become. so i know there's a great deal of ferment and activities inside iran that we do try to support. at the same time, we don't want to either endanger or undermine those very same people. so that it becomes, you know, once again the u.s. doing
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something instead of the u.s. being supportive of what indigenous efforts are taking place. we know that iran is under tremendous pressure. early returns from implementation of the sanctions are that they're feeling the economic effects. we would hope that that would lead them to reconsider their positions not only with respect to nuclear weapons but, frankly, the export of terrorism. and it's not only in the obvious places with hezbollah and hamas, but in trying to destabilize many countries in the region. and beyond where they have, you know, provided support and funding for terrorist activities as far away as argentina. so i think that there is a very, you know, very sad confluence of events occurring.
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inside iran. i think eventually, but i can't put a time frame on it, the iranian people themselves will respond to. and we want toe helpful, but we don't want to get in the way of it. so that's the balance that we y to strike. now, with respect to north korea we are continuing to send a very clear message to north korea about what we expect and what the six-party process could offer if they areilling to return and discuss seriously denuclearization that is irreversible. we are in intense discussion about this with all the other six-party members, and we're watching the leadership process and don't have any, any idea yet how it's going to turn out.
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but the most important issue for us is trying to get our six-party friends led by china to work with us to try to convince who's ever in leadership in north korea that their future would be far better served by denuclearizing, and that remains our goal. >> as always, tha you so much. [laughter] for coming here, first of all, but also giving such a thorough and complete and comprehensive talk about american foreign policy. and i know i speak for everyone that we wish you godspeed and more in your work next week and
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-- and beyond. >> thanks richard. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> on c-span to 9, president obama talks about the economy jo bonner holds a town meeting in his district. and a campaign event for democrats in philadelphia. on tomorrow morning's "washington journal," a discussion about the obama administration foreign-policy. an l.a. times reporter on federal regulations, and a discussion about the u.s. labor market with economists. "washington journal" begins live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> at long last the united
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states of america joins every other industrial nation in the world that says health care is a right and not a privilege. >> senators and congressman had been holding town hall meetings and we have been covering income -- covering them. see what you're elected officials have said from across the country. it is free on your computer any time. ident obama call for bush tax cuts to expire for anyone making over $250,000 a year. he directly criticize house minority leader john maynard. -- john boehner, and this is 50 minutes.
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>> the president of the united states. [applause] >> hello, thank you very much.
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thank you, ohio. thank you, cleveland. thank you, thank you so much, everyone, please have a seat. we've got some business to do today. thank you very much. i love you back. thank you. before i get started, i want to acknowledge some outstanding public servants who are here. first of all, someone who i believe this one of the finest governors in this country, ted strickland. [applause] the lieutenant governor and cent of the junior senator from ohio, lee fisher is here.
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-- and send to be the junior senator from ohio, lee fisher. in the junior senator from illinois used to be made. the outstanding mayor of cleveland, frank jackson, is here. rma.mayor of palm someone is fighting for work and family each and every day. and three of the hardest working and finest members of the house of representatives, then as the senate's -- dennis kucinich,
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and good afternoon, everybody. it is good to be back in ohio. you know, but in the fall of 2008, one of the last rallies of my presidential campaign was right here in the cleveland area. it was a hopeful time, just two days before the election. we knew that if we pulled it off, we would finally have the chance to tackle some big and difficult challenges that had been facing this country for a very long time. we also hoped for a chance to get beyond some of the old political divides -- but during democrats and republicans, red states and blue states -- that had prevented us from making progress.
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behough we're proud to democrats, we are prouder to be americans, and we believed -- we believed then and now that no single the party has a monopoly on wisdom. that is not to say that the election did not expose deep differences between the parties. i ran for president because for much of the last decade, a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how america should work. cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. cut regulations for special interests. cut trade deals even if they did
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not benefit our workers. cut back on investments in our people and our future, in education and clean energy, in research and technology. the idea was that if we had blind faith in the markets, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, that america would grow up and america would prosper. and for a time, this idea gave us the illusion of prosperity. we saw financial firms and ceo's take in record profits and bonuses. we saw a housing boom that led to new homeowners and new jobs in construction. consumers bought more condos and bigger cars and better tvs. all while this was happening,
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the broader economy was becoming weaker. nobody understands that more than the people of ohio. job growth between 2000 and 2008 was slower than it had been in any economic expansion since world war ii, slower than it has been over the last year. the wages and incomes of middle- class families kept falling while the cost of everything from tuition to health care kept on going up. folks were forced to put more debt on their credit cards and borrow against homes that many could not afford to buy in the first place. and meanwhile, a failure to pay for two wars and two tax cuts
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for the wealthy helped turn a record surplus into a record deficit. i ran for president because i believed that this kind of economy was unsustainable, for the middle-class and for the future of our nation. i ran because i had a different idea about how america was built. it was an idea -- [applause] it was an idea rooted in my own family's story. busy, michelle and i are where we are today because even though our families did not have much, they worked tirelessly without complaint so that we might have a better life. my grandfather marched off to europe in world war ii while my
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grandfather worked in factories on the home front. i had a single mom who put herself through school, and would wake before dawn to make sure i got a decent education. michelle can still remember her father heading out to his job as a city worker long after multiple sclerosis had made it impossible for him to walk without crutches. he always got to work. he just had to get up a little earlier. yes, our families believed in the american values of self- reliance and individual responsibility, and they instilled those values in their children. but they also believed in a country that rewards responsibility. a country that rewards hard work. a country built on the promise of opportunity and upward
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mobility. they believed in an america that gave my grandfather the chance to go to college because of the gi bill. an america that gave my grandparents the chance to buy a home because of the federal housing authority. an america that gave their children and grandchildren the chance to fulfill our dreams thanks to college loans and college scholarships. it was an america where you did not buy things you could not afford, where we did not just think about today, we thought about tomorrow. an america that took pride in the goods that we made, not just d. the things we consume t an america that -- where rising tide really did lift all boats, from the company ceo to the guy
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on the assembly line. that's the america i believe in. that is the america i believe in. that is what led me to work in the shadows of a shuttered steel plant on the south side of chicago when i was a community organizer. it is what led me to fight for factory workers at manufacturing plants closing across illinois when i was a senator. it is what led me to run for president -- because i did not believe we can have a strong and growing economy without a strong and growing middle-class. now much has happened since that election. the flawed policies and economic weaknesses of the previous decade culminated in a financial
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crisis and the worst recession of our lifetimes. and my hope was that the crisis would cause everybody, democrats and republicans, to pull together and tackle our problems in a practical way. but as we all know, things did not work out that way. some republican leaders figured it was smart politics to sit on the sidelines and let democrats solve the mess. others believed on principle that government should not meddle in the markets, even when the markets were broken. but with the nation losing nearly 800,000 jobs, the month that i was sworn into office, my most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression.
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and, ohio, we have done that. the economy is growing again. the financial markets have stabilized. the practice -- the private sector has created jobs for the last eight months in a row. and there are roughly 3 million americans who are working today because of the economic plan we put into place. but the truth is, progress has been painfully slow. millions of jobs were lost before policies even had a chance to take effect. we lost 4 million jobs in six months before i took office.
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it was a hole so deep that even though we have added jobs again, millions of americans remain that unemployed. hundreds of thousands of families have lost their homes. millions more can barely pay the bills or make the mortgage. the middle-class is still treading water, and those aspiring to reach the middle class are doing everything they can to keep from drowning. and meanwhile, some of the very steps that were necessary to save the economy, like temporarily supporting the banks and the auto industry, that the perception that washington is still ignoring the middle class in favor of special interest. and so people are frustrated and they are angry and they're anxious about the future. i understand that. i also understand that in a
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political campaign, the easiest thing for the other side to do is to ride this fear and anger all the way to election day. that is what is happening right now. a few weeks ago the republican leader of the house came here to cleveland and offered his party's answer to our economic challenges. now it would be one thing if he admitted his party's mistakes during the eight years that they were in power. they had gone off for a while and meditated and come back and offered a credible new approach to solving our country's problems. but that is not what happened. there were no new policies from mr. boehner. there were no new ideas. there was just the same philosophy that we have already tried during the decade with a
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were in power. the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place -- cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations. instead of coming together like past generations did to build a better country for our children and grandchildren, their argument is that we should let insurance companies go back to denying care for folks who are sick, or let credit card companies go back to raising rates without any reason. instead of setting our sights higher, they are asking us to settle for a status quo of stagnant growth, eroding competitiveness, and a shrinking middle class. cleveland, that is not the america i know. that is not the america we believe in.
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a lot has changed since i came here in those final days of the last election, but what has not changed is the choice facing this country. it is still fear versus hope. the past versus the future. it is still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward. that is what this election is about. that is the choice you will face in november. now we have a different vision for the future. i have never believed that government has all the answers to our problems. i have never believed that
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government's role is to create jobs or prosperity. i believe it is the drive and ingenuity of our entrepreneurs, and small businessmen, the skill and dedication of our workers, that is made us the wealthiest nation on earth. i believe is the private sector that must be the main engine for our recovery. i believe government should be lean the, the government should be efficient, and i believe government should leave people free to make the choices they think are best for themselves and their families so long as those choices do not hurt others. but in the words of the first republican president, abraham lincoln, i also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do
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better for themselves. that means making long-term investments in this country's future that individuals and corporations cannot make on the run. investments in education and clean energy, in basic research and technology and infrastructure. that means making sure corporations live up to their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly and to play by the same rules as everybody else. their responsibility is to look out for their workers as well as their shareholders and create jobs here at home. and that means providing and hand up to the middle-class families so that if they work
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hard and meet their responsibilities, they can afford to raise their children and send them to college, see a doctor when they get sick, and retire with dignity and with respect. that is what we democrats believe then, a vibrant free market, but one that works for everybody. that is our vision for a stronger economy and a growing middle-class, and that is the difference between what we and the republicans in congress are offering the american people right now. let me give you a few specific examples of our different approaches. this week i proposed some additional steps to grow the economy and help businesses spur hiring.
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one of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the united states. but for years, our task code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries. i want to change that. i want to change that. instead of tax loopholes that incentivize investment in overseas jobs, i'm proposing a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to companies for all the research and innovation they do right here in ohio, right here in the united states of america.
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and i am proposing that all american businesses should be allowed to write off all the investment they do in 2011. and this will help small businesses upgrade their plants and equipment, and will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work employs is like cleveland and toledo and dayton. -- to work in places like cleveland and toledo and dayton. to most of you, i bet this just seems like common sense. [laughter] but not to mr. boehner and his allies. for years republicans have fought to keep these corporate loopholes open. when mr. boehner was here in cleveland, he attacked us for closing a few of these loopholes and using the money to help states like ohio keep hundreds of thousands of teachers and cops and firefighters on the job.
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mr. boehner dismissed these jobs, teaching our kids, patrolling our streets, rushing into burning buildings, as "government jobs," jobs that i guess he thought just were not saving. -- were not worth saving. i could not disagree more. i think teachers and police officers and firefighters are part of what keep america strong. and ohio, i think that if we're going to give tax breaks to companies, they should go to companies that create jobs here in america, not to create jobs overseas. that is one difference between the republican vision and the democratic vision. and that is what this election
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is all about. >> you setell them. >> let me give you another example. we want to put more americans back to work rebuilding america, our roads, our railways, our runways. when the housing sector collapsed and the recession hit, one in every four jobs lost were in the construction industry. that is partly why our economic plan has invested in badly needed infrastructure projects over the last 19 months, not just roads and bridges, but high-speed railroads and expanded broadband access. altogether these projects have led to thousands of good -- thousands of good, private sector jobs especially for those in the trades.
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mr. boehner and the republicans in congress said no to these projects. all of them tooth and nail. though i should say it did not stop a lot of them for showing up at the ribbon cutting, trying to take credit. [laughter] that is always a sight to see. [laughter] they're still thousands of miles of roads, railways, and runways left to repair and improve. and engineers, economists, governors, and mayors of every political stripe believe that if we want to compete, in this global economy, we need to rebuild this vital interest -- this vital infrastructure. there's no reason that europe or china should have the fastest trains or the most modern airports. we want to put american the work building them right here in america. -- we want to put americans to work building them right here in
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america. so this week i have proposed a six year infrastructure plan that would start putting americans to work right away. but despite the fact that this has traditionally been an issue with bipartisan support, mr. boehner has so far said no to infrastructure. that is bad for america, and that too is what this election is all about. i will give you one final example of the differences between us and the republicans, and that is on the issue of tax cuts. under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year. for everybody. by the way, this was by design.
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when they passed the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, they did not want everyone to know what it would do to our government. they pretended like they were going demand, even though now, they say they did not. i believe we ought to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent. for the middle class. permanent. these families are the ones who saw their wages and incomes flatline over the last decade. you deserve a break. you deserve some help. and because folks in the middle- class are more likely to spend their tax cuts on basic necessities, that strengthens the economy as a whole.
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but the republican leader of the house does not want to stop there. make no mistake -- he and his party believe we should also give a permanent tax cut to the wealthiest 2% of americans. with all the other budgetary pressures we have, with all the republicans' talk about wanting to shrink the deficit, they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next 10 years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 each to folks who are already millionaires. and keep in mind, wealthy americans are the only folks who saw their incomes rise when republicans were in charge. and these of the folks who are
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less likely to spend the money, which is why economists do not think tax breaks for the wealthy would do much to boost the economy. so let me be clear to mr. boehner and everybody else -- we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer. we are ready this week if they want to to give tax cuts to every american making $250,000 or less. that is 97% of americans. for any income over this amount, the tax rates would just go back to what they were under
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president clinton. this is not to punish folks who are better off. it is because we cannot afford the $700 billion price tag. and for those who claim that our approach would somehow be bad for growth and bad for small businesses, let me remind you that with those tax rates in place, under president clinton, this country created 22 million jobs, and raised incomes, and had the largest surplus in our history. in fact, if the republican leadership in congress really wants to help small businesses, they will stop using legislative
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maneuvers to block an up or down vote on a small business jobs bill that is before the senate right now. right now. this is a bill that would do two things. it would cut taxes for small businesses and make loans more available for small businesses. it is fully paid for. it will not add to the deficit. and it was written by democrats and republicans. and yet the other party continues to block this jobs bill, a delay that small business owners have said is actually leading them to put off hiring. look, i recognize that most of the republicans in congress have said no to just about every policy i have proposed since taking office.
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i realize in some cases that there are genuine philosophical differences. but on issues like this, a tax cut for small businesses supported by the chamber of commerce, the only reason they are holding this up is politics, pure and simple. they are making the same calculation they made just before my inauguration. if i fail, they win. well, they might think that this will get them to where they want to go in november, but it will not get our country going where it needs to go in the long run.
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it will not get us there. it will not get us there. it will not get us there. so that is the choice, ohio. do we return to the same failed policies that ran our economy into a ditch, or do we keep moving forward with policies that are slowly pulling us out? do we settle for a slow decline, or do we reach for an
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america with a growing economy and a friday -- and a thriving middle-class? that is the america that i see. we may not be there yet, but we know where this country needs to go. we see a future where we invest in american innovation and american ingenuity, where we export more goods so we create more jobs here at home, or remake it easier to start a business or patent an invention, where we build a homegrown, clean energy industry -- because i do not want to see new solar panels or electric cars or vans batteries manufactured in europe or asia. i want to see them made right here in the u.s. of a. if by american workers.
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we see an america where every citizen has the skills and training to compete with any worker in the world. that is why we've set a goal to once again have a high proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. that is why we're revitalizing community colleges like this one. that is why we are reforming our education system based on what works for our children, not what perpetuates the status quo. we see an america where a growing middle-class is the beating heart of a growing economy. that is why i kept my campaign promise and gave a middle-class tax cut to 95% of working
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americans. that is why we passed health insurance reform that stops insurance companies from jacking up your premiums at will or denying coverage just because you get sick. that is why we passed financial reform they will end taxpayer- funded bailouts, reform that will stop credit card companies and mortgage lenders from taking advantage of taxpayers and consumers. that is why we're trying to make it easier for workers to save for retirement and fighting the efforts of some in the other party to privatize social security. as long as i am president, no one is going to take the retirement savings of a generation of americans and hand it over to wall street. not on my watch.
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that is why we're fighting to extend the child tax credit and make permanent our new college tax credit. if we do, it will mean $10,000 in tuition relief for each child going to four years of college. and i do not want any parent not to be sending their kids in good times or bad to college because they cannot afford. finally, we see an america where we refuse to pass on the debt we inherited to the next generation. been a minute on this issue, because we've heard a lot of moralizing on the other side about this. government spending and debt. along with the tax cuts for the
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wealthy, the other party's main economic proposal is that they will stop government spending. it is right to be concerned about the long-term deficit. if we do not get a handle on it soon, it could endanger our future. and at time when folks are tightening their belts at home, i understand why a lot of americans feel it is time for government to show some discipline too. but let's look at the facts. when these same republicans, including mr. boehner, were in charge, the number of earmarks and pet projects went up, not down. the same republicans turned a record surplus into a record deficit.
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when i walked in, wrapped in an iceboat was up $1.3 children deficit sitting right there on my doorstep -- wrapped up in a bow was a $1.3 trillion deficit sitting right there are my doorstep. the same republicans voted against a bipartisan fiscal commission that they themselves had proposed. once i decided i was forever, they were against it. and when you ask them what programs they would actually cut, they do not have an answer. that's not fiscal responsibility. that is not a serious plan to govern. -- i refuse to cut back on those investments
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that will grow our economy in the future, investments in areas like education and clean energy and technology. i do not want to cut those things. and that is because economic growth is the single best way to bring down the deficit, and we need these investments to grow. but i am absolutely committed to fiscal responsibility, which is why have already proposed freezing all discretionary spending unrelated to national security for the next three years. and once the bipartisan fiscal commission finishes its work, i will spend the next year making the tough choices necessary to further reduce our deficit and lower our debt. whether i could help from the other side or not.
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-- get help from the other side are not. of course, reducing the deficit will not be easy. making up for the 8 million lost jobs caused by this recession will not happen overnight. not everything we have done of the last two years had worked as quickly as we had hoped. i am keenly aware that not all our policies have been popular. our job is not easy. but you did not elect me to do what is easy. you did not elect me to read the polls and figure out how to keep myself in office. you did not elect me to avoid big problems. you elected me to do what was right. and as long as i am president, that is that exactly what i intend to do.
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this country is emerging from an incredibly different period in its history. it stretched from -- an era of irresponsibility that stretched from wall street to washington and had a devastating effect on a lot of people. we had started turning the corner on that era, but part of moving forward is returning to the time-honored values that
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built this country. hard work and self-reliance. responsibility for ourselves, but also responsibility for one another. it is about moving from an attitude that says, what is it -- what is in it to me, to one that ask, what is best for america? what is best for all our workers? what is best for all our businesses? what is best for all of our children? these values are not democratic or republican. they are not conservative or liberal values. they are american values. as democrats, we take pride in what our party has accomplished over the last century. social security in the minimum wage, the gi bill and medicare, civil-rights and worker's rights and women's rights.
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but we also recognize that throughout our history, there has been a noble republican vision as well of what this country can be. it was the vision of abraham lincoln who set up the first land grant colleges and launched the transcontinental railroad. the vision of teddy roosevelt who used the power of government to break up monopolies. the vision of dwight eisenhower who helped build the interstate highway system. and yes, the vision of ronald reagan who despite his aversion to government was willing to help save social security for future generations. working with democrats. these were serious leaders for serious times.
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they were great politicians, but they did not spend all their time playing games or scoring points. they did not always prey on people's fears and anxieties. they made mistakes, but they did what they thought was in the best interest of their country and its people. and that is what the american people expect of us today. democrats, independents, and republicans. that is the debate they deserve. that is the leadership we owe them. i know that folks are worried about the future. i know there is still a lot of hurt out there. and when times are tough, i know it can be tempting to give in to cynicism and fear and doubt and division, to set our sights a
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little bit lower and settle for something a little bit less. but that is not who we are, ohio. those are not the values that built this country. we are here today because in the worst of times, the people who came before us our parents, our great grandparents, and our grandparents wanted to work. they were willing to take great risks again faced great hardships and reached for a future if that would give us a chance for a better life. they knew that this country was greater than the sum of its parts. that america is not about the ambitions of any one individual, but the aspirations of an entire people -- an entire nation. that is to we are.
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that is our legacy. if i am convinced that if we are willing to summon those values today, willing to choose hope over here and come together once more against the -- for the great project of renewal, we will rebuild our middle-class and reclaim the american dream for the next generation. thank you. god bless you and may god bless the united states of america. [applause] thank you. [hail to the chief playing]
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>> join us on friday when president obama host 8 news conference at the white house. we expect questions about the economy, iran, iraq, and other issues. you can see it live on c-span. on c-span tonight, alabama congressman jo bonner holds a town hall meeting in his district. democratic national committee chairman holds a campaign event in philadelphia. former gov. george pataki introduces a plan on health care. >> he is considered the father of community organizing. his book is still used as a blueprint for bringing about social change. >> it comprises all of my experience as what a rabble rouser is supposed to be. >> he writes about his experiences in "radical."
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that is sunday night on c-span's "q &a." >> jo bonner spoke to his constituents in our speech, alabama. congressman bonior is seeking his fifth term in the house. this is just over one hour. >> congressman bonner is my friend. he has been there for us in
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every fight, every battle we have had in the last four months. he took care of business. it means a lot to me and i hope it means a lot to you. without further ado, i would like to welcome and introduce congressman jo bonner. thank you for being here, sir. >> thank you. [applause] thank you, mayor. thank you for coming out. i want to return the favor. things will change in a very real way on april 20. we have lived through hurricane season. but as the news broke that there had been a tragedy out in the
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gulf of mexico that none of us could have imagined, this community, this island under the leadership of your local leadership and state leadership has been with one voice in solidarity to make sure that this tragedy did not go unnoticed by the people in the united states or people at the highest level of corporate america. we are so blessed to have your mayor leading this community. thank you. [applause] it is good to be back. this time last year when we were here, there were no seats in the room. the topic was health care. it was a topic that continued. we went back in discussion and it continued to christmas and
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new year's. as you know, the president got his way and the congress eventually passed the bill. it has been signed into law. a lot has happened on the fifth anniversary of hurricane katrina. as we celebrate, i think we should celebrate the fact that the well. capped fh it is not permanent yet. the past 120 days have taken a toll on our area unlike anything we have seen or experienced. today, in addition to having a town meeting, this is the last town meeting we have scheduled for this week. i think we are at no. 12 or 13. i am not sure. it is appropriate we are finishing up here in orange beach, and this is appropriate
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that we welcome c-span who will be televising and replaying this town hall meeting. if you did not have the chance to put on your powder, do not worry about it. i did not either. when you have a question or a comment, and we will ask you to raise your hand and they will bring a microphone so you will have a chance to have your question heard by citizens throughout the country. when we do townhome meetings like this, i always start out with a couple of words of thanks. i say this from the bottom of my heart, thank you pour the privilege of working for you. you are my boss. you and the people who live in the first congressional district. thank you for coming out today to ask a question or offer a comment. many came out because you need
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our help. i have people in my office. they are in the back. rachel kaiser is in a coral colored dress. she works in our baldwin county office. if you want the help of this office and you do not want it on c-span, you will have a chance to get them the information so we can go to work on your behalf. you might have a question that not only do you not want c-span to televise, but you do not want your husband or wife to know you asked. we have some cards. it he would like to put a question down, you can hand it to me. i will call you back. i will call you, probably on the
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way over. i had a man yesterday at a town meeting in brewton to set his wife was in the hospital in pensacola. normally she comes to our town meetings and he thought it would be nice if we call her. i am afraid i might give her a heart attack if i call her. she is doing better. if you want me to call you or respond to a matter privately, i am proud to do that. we also have some links to our web sites. there are two programs that we are participating in. they give you an opportunity to tell me as your congressman, but also tell the entire congress. republican and democratic leadership's will listen to your concerns and what you would like to see done in relation to the direction of our country.
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we would love to give you these addresses and would love to hear from you in any number of ways. one more word of thanks. this is not something that i had necessarily planned on, but i want to do it because i mean it. this young man spent about 1.5 years in his time and money going door-to-door tried to be your congressman. i want to recognize him. he deserves a lot of banks for what he tried to do. he and his wife now have a beautiful baby. ladies and gentlemen, the problems we face as a nation are not going to be solved in washington, d.c. they will be sound -- they will be solved in towns like orange beach, alabama. we ran for the same job. we did not run against each
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other. you did not hear anything negative or adverse. i really mean this. i think the mayor will agree at the end of the council members will agree. you should tip your hat when someone is willing to put their lives and families on hold to ask for the opportunity and the privilege to work for you, so, peter, thank you for being here. [applause] i come here knowing there is a lot of concern about what has happened in the last few months. i am ready to go to your questions for comments. but very briefly, i think it is safe to say based on the other comments i have received, that many people are concerned about what is going on with our country. they are concerned about the direction we are going in, the amount of money we are borrowing, the amount of money we are spending.
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whether it is borrowing too much money from china or other countries and putting a burden on our future and a burden on the backs of our children and grandchildren, these are some serious challenges we are facing. some in washington would have to believe that the recovery is here. they actually called it the "recovery summer." happy days are here again. i would have a hard time going to monroeville in my district. i would be hard pressed to say, "good times are here again." most people would say i have lost my mind. we have some serious challenges. i believe in all my heart that there are solutions out there. they are not easy, but there are solutions out there. the challenge is going to be for washington, your elected
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representatives and senators, and the president to listen to your concerns, tears, and hopes. again, i came today to say thank you for the privilege of working for you and representing for you. i would love to take any comments, questions, complement's -- -- [laughter] >> i have a question about local concerns about bp. is there any guidelines that you have issued to vacation rental agencies and the private-owner rental people? is there any firm advice given to them that they are to pay a certain about of their money for lodging expenses?
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>> we have not given any advice on that effect. but i will tell you that there was some discussion early on about whether the funding that was being made available, first by a bp and now by mr. feinberg in terms of compensation, would be taxable. we have been reminded that it is taxable. in terms of lodging taxes, that would be something that would be more on the local level. is that right? >> they should not be responsible for having to pay the taxes. >> the reason i ask that is because of that answer. people that collect moneys from tourist automatically have to pay a percent of lodging tax to the state. the state then redistributes it
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to the county, municipalities, and convention bureau. but there is confusion, there may be redundancy in claims. bp and feinberg can say, "if you people do not have your act together, and we cannot pay until you know that the state will get a certain percent of the money you got." that does not count the sales tax of people who are in business. i do not sell as many hot dollars or hamburgers. that is an issue to me. i understand it you want to talk about federal tax. everybody knows we have to pay you. now, try to get the state to get their money from them said that they do not get confused over who does what to him. >> that is a great question. it is the first time it has come up in these meetings. it is something we probably should have brought up. it is a fair question.
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i hate to muddied the water by saying that in my view the water has been muddied considerably by the attorney general of alabama by filing suit against bp. one of the concerns i have is that the attorney general did not call the mayor of orange beach, the mayor of gulf shores, or the mayor of mobile and asking you what you thought. the president and others worked to create the $20 billion. that is not for government reimbursement. i wish there had been more money put into it. it could have been a one-stop shop said that a community would be able to file their claims
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simply. that was not agreed to. as a result, governor riley was leading negotiations with bp to make orange beach, gulf shores, and baldwin county whole. those negotiations have basically come to a halt. that is then added frustration. i do not think the mayor can't tell you right now what the state will be able to do because those negotiations are on hold right now. my only plea to the attorney general would be that i am not a lawyer, but i believe a lawyer had to have a client to represent. he has refused to consult with the local mayors, county leaders, and state leaders. it makes me wonder why he is
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filing this suit at this particular time. we may need to sue bp, but mississippi has not filed suit. florida has not filed suit. louisiana has not filed suit. i wish he would have let the governor negotiate on behalf of the community and the county. i wish i had a more definitive answer to your question. i fear that lawsuit will pay a real impediment. thank you for your question. i will be happy to look at it further and see if we can get additional information. >> we always appreciate you coming to visit us. thank you for helping our fishing community. one of our concerns right now is seafood safety. it's a perception among a lot of people when red snapper season was announced last friday, i had a phone call from a gentleman.
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his first question was, "would eat the fish?" i have no doubt that the fish is safe. he called back and said their group was concerned and they were going to wait. this is going to be an issue that will continue to beat one we will have to deal with -- continue to be one we will have to deal with. we need your help to get the message out that the seafood is safe. a lot of people are questioning whether the fda and noaa is doing a good job. what i would like on opening day of season is for you to come down and go fishing with us and enjoy some red snapper. that will be a wait for our
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community to tell the nation that we are open for business. >> i cannot think of a better invitation. unless there is something that i cannot get an out of, i will be there with you on opening day. i promise you i will not only eat it, i will enjoy it. >> we look forward to being able to do this. anything that you can do to help this issue along because we are concerned about it. >> you know, captain, you are concerned because you have seen what this has done to the economy, to your business, to your colleagues, friends, neighbors and one of the concerns that i have to your point is that i think the seafood is safe. you can look at me and tell that i have not pushed away from the food. i think that the seafood is
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safe, but there is a concern. in the minds of a residence across the country there is a little confidence in government right now. how many people -- remember a couple of days ago that we heard from the epa and noaa than 75% of the oil has disappeared? how many believe that? i hope it has. i hope is gone. but there is so little confidence. congress has a 12% approval rating. there are a lot of people that believe that if the government says it you can trust that it is not true. you are right. we will have to do a good job of convincing the american people that not only is it safe and enjoyable and delicious to enjoy our seafood again, but at the beaches are safe.
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that is what the challenges that the mayor and the chamber of commerce have. how do we get through the worst environmental man-made crisis in the history of america and have credibility when we tell people -- taylor hicks is on tv right now asking people to come back. we have to make sure that we are shooting straight with the american people because our credibility is on the line. i had an opportunity to meet a group of people from arkansas and texas who were at a parlor in the gulf shores. they have been here since april 20. that is not true -- since school got out. i recognized the guys from texas because he had a longhorn shirt on. [laughter]
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i went over and sank them. p -- and thanked him. it is something that was near and dear pitt it was a chamber of commerce moment. he said, "we love gulf shores and we are going to keep coming. if i am not there on opening day, i will be there during the fall season. i want to tell the world to come on back. we would love to share this with others. >> we appreciate that. [applause] if i could add one thing, i want to thank you for your support for getting the funding so that assessments to be done correctly. you have really helped our fishing community. thank you a very much. [applause]
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>> when major opening day? >> october 1. >> as unpopular as congress is, if you found out that you had a member of congress on your boat, you might have people writing you to push me off and make me the date -- make me bthe bait. the entire area has felt this. there is no community that has been more personal than this one. i want you to note that your colleagues, your families, and your friends had been in our prayers every day. >> it would be better if i
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stand. i have a question about a program. people who have applied for modifications seem to be stalled with the lenders. some of these people have waited six months for an answer and i, in the meantime, their homes had been foreclosed on. i do not think they are acting in good faith. i had two questions to ask you about this. >> tell me what the program is. >> it is a program set up or homeowners. even homeowners that paid their mortgages every month can qualify for this program. if you have had a drop in income and you cannot afford your monthly payment, but they could if they reduced your interest rates 2% or 3% -- i think our
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president has asked that lenders look at this and that if you can afford to do it, they would do this for you. i do not know if the government supplements these lenders or not, but it keeps people from losing their homes. i think people need help with this because i do not think the lenders want to do it. if i was one, i probably would not want to do it either, but people do need help. what this congress doing to motivate planters to move the modification program for it right now -- motivates lenders to move the modification program forward right now? >> there are a lot of banks here, i would argue, that do want to loan, that do want to keep credit flowing especially to customers they had been working with and have
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considered business partners for years or decades. but i think what is happening, even if the president in good faith is saying to the treasury department and the federal reserve and the fdic, "you need to loosen up the regulations. you need to get an option to these lending institutions so that they can turn around and lend." i do not think that is happening. a few nights ago and there were about 550 committee bankers that were having dinner in this county. we were invited to join them. there were bankers, people from the fdic, and the treasury department who were dealt from washington. some of them were from the atlanta office. the annual appraisal is another dagger into an already fragile
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real-estate system. it was bad before april 20. it was bad on april 19. you know this. i am not telling you anything you do not know. along comes the oil spill, and it gets worse. some from the federal government were saying to the bankers, "we will give you some breathing room. lend the money." when we talked to the bankers, they said, "we cannot afford to land because they are putting a gun to our head and saying that if we went to this company or individual, which will strike against you and you will be on the hook and be liable." i just came from gulf shores. this question came up down thereja. . mayor kraft testified before
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the house and financial-services committee. i have been led to believe that the chairman and the ranking republican of the committee, are sending a very strongly worded letter to the treasury department through the fdic that if we want the economy nationally to recover, we will have to give some breathing room to some of these lending institutions along the gulf coast because it is getting desperate. i do not have a copy of that letter yet, but i will make one available to the mayor. i will make one available to you. you are exactly right. these programs are only good if they are being used to benefit individuals that, in this instance, are creditworthy.
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they are being suffocated because of the regulations. you can vote for members of congress or senators, but these regulators never get a chance to leave. >> is it right to put a moratorium on the foreclosure, to stop the foreclosures while people applied for these and get an answer from these lenders? and it to hold these lenders accountable that do not act in good faith? >> i do not know the answer to your question, but i will give you an answer. congress just passed and the congress signed into law a new federal regulatory bill. i do not know that any part of that legislation would deal with your question, but i guess that someone will get your own number
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and address and we will give you an answer. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> sir, you and i have talked several times before about the homeowners insurance crisis. it has been going on for almost four years. it is having a crippling effect on the economy. it is certainly hurting the homeowners market. it is forcing people into foreclosure is simply because they cannot keep up with their homeowner's insurance premiums. we have tried to get the attention of the state government because we realize it is a state problem. is there some way that the federal government can and electric light the state government into doing something about this -- is electrify the state government into doing something about this so we can
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have some sort of logical relief from this thing? if people understood exactly why they are paying six times the premiums they were paying four years ago -- right now we are in a state of confusion about this because no one will talk to us with per statistics to show us why we on the coast are having to pay such high premiums. it not only effects insurance, but also affects the fire, theft, and other insurance. i had a friend who was dropped when it his wind insurance was dropped. the company said they could keep the rest of the insurance. they charged him $1,200 more than he was paying before, even though there is no reason to believe that fire and that would be more of a problem in this
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state. we cannot figure out why we are above the average. >> that is a great question. long before april 20, the lack of affordable and accessible wind and absurd policies was a -- had a crippling effect on the economy in this area. you mentioned that it is really not a responsibility of the federal government. you are right. you can come to washington, d.c. -- i hope you will all come some time and go to the department of treasury, the department of education, and the department of energy -- there is not a department of insurance. i am not sure i want a department of insurance. we have been involved in a close eye-roll with insurance. for years, the federal flood
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program actually paid for itself. it was in the black. there are very few federal programs that are in the black, but this was able to sustain itself on the premium. then along comes a hurricane katrina, hurricane rita, hurrican isaac -- we went from being in the red -- went from being in the black to being in the red. while the -- it believed it up to the benevolence of the big insurance companies, what are they going to do? they are going to walk away because of the risk. the risk is not on the coast.
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it is in robertsdale. it is in loxley. it is moving up. individual homeowners are paying higher premiums. i was working as a republican with a democrat from mississippi to try to get other republicans and democrats to get this legislation a chance. congressman taylor says that he does not believe this will cost money because you do not have to pay for it. you have to charge appropriate premium levels. michael in sponsoring it was not to get the federal government more and vault in insurance, but to go after the insurance companies. the insurance for automobiles, burial insurance, a whole assortment of insurance -- you have to sell us what we need to
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go to the bank. this is an issue that, even in alabama, we have not gotten our friends in north alabama to look at the strong baldwin county economy. i hope when we return, the congressman taylor is able to get the votes on his side and i will get the votes on my side to pass this. we still have to get it passed the senate and it will still have to go to the administration. what are the options? governor riley is and pressing the administration. i think it will be some funding available. the secretary of the navy that president obama has appointed to
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help with the recovery for the region -- some of this will probably come from the penalties, the fines that will be assessed to bp that will have to be paid because of the violation of the oil act of 1990. one of the things we may want to consider it when that money comes in, we had a birthright to keep it here on the gulf coast. but one of the things we may want to consider -- florida has a problem, mississippi has a problem, we all have the same problem. the economy of the gulf coast is a mighty important to the economy of the country. for the last several months, we have been worried about greece. what is going on with greece? greece is a $356 million economy. the gulf coast economy from key
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west, fla., to browse still, texas, is a $2 trillion economy. we are is important to washington as to montgomery. i will do everything i can do to get the gene taylor bill passed the house. then we will get it to the senate and to the president. >> thank you. >> other questions or comments? >> bastard? >> i want to ask a question about the payouts? there have been a lot of promises from pd. they contacted us and asked us what we need. i put together a summary of
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about $40,000 that they had verbally committed to. that has all along by the wayside. we found out from mr. feinberg is a representative is that they do not know what to do with nonprofits as a whole. is there anything you can do to bring pressure to bear? this needs to be looked at. christian service center at giving is down. we have been using our reserves to help this community at about $7,000 per month. that is dropping. we are seeing an increase in the number of people needing to be helped with utility bills, food, and that sort of thing. we still we have been left high- and-dried. we are the last ditch effort for people when they need that help at the very end. >> i will get some information from you and we will be happy to
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contact you. that is a fuzzy area because it is not a business and not an individual claim. i do not know if we will start with mr. feinberg are mr. bp. if they promise is made, the balance -- the promise must be kept. >> it was verbal. it was never put in writing. >> i know the good work you do. one of my favorite people in the world is someone who is a resident of pleasure island. his name was andy andrews. he tells wonderful stories. he went through hard times himself. his mother and father died when he was 19. one died from cancer and another died in a car accident. at one time he was homeless and
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lived under the pier in gulf shores. he went to a difficult time. what he did, unlike what most of us would do, he went to the library and check out books. he read autobiography's on more than 200 people. he saw in their stories help you did not have to be destined to be a homeless person living under the pier. he was able to take the stories of those people and weave them into stories he has been able to tell. he is a man of faith. he is someone who has inspired generals to focus their troops on a mission. i do not know where we would be in this community and this nation if we did not have programs like the one you have mentioned it to help people through difficult times.
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i was unaware about the issue, but i am more than happy to look into it. we will give your name and address and be back in touch. >> i have a second question. this have to do with some of the people in our community. i realize is a real estate based issue, but i know of two families who have lost their job around the oil crisis. they felt work in other locations, one in california in particular. they could not sell their house here in order to move there. the real-estate issue needs to be addressed in some way for those people who are finding employment elsewhere or have the desire to relocate but cannot because of the real estate. is there anything, from your perspective, that can be done? >> that is a really tough
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challenge. let me just say -- i think the mayor will back me up -- i.e. do not think anyone has done more than mr. feinberg then governor riley. he has been a bulldog on this issue. the original answer to the example you gave or to a real- estate agent who has lost a commission was, "sorry charlie." mr. feinberg has announced that there will be about $70 million -- $60 million set aside to help the real-estate community. >> i understand that is strictly realtors. >> it is because here is the challenge. the couple used as an example could not find work and moved to
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another place -- here is a problem, and i am not saying this in defense of bp or mr. feinberg, there is no way that we can't predict today that you have a better chance of predicting what may happen next year in your line of work -- >> i am giving a series of revelations -- a series on revelations at you like to join us. [laughter] >> the market will recover. it always has. the last time it recovered was after a hurricane. we woke up after hurricane ivan. president bush was down here. we were looking at homes,
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condominiums, and buildings that were destroyed. to the national process, you deal with the fear of the storm, you do with the reality of the storm, the new deal with the recovery of the storm. i am not saying i am not sympathetic to this, but i do know that we are going to give mr. feinberg a $20 billion escrow account. i do not know that we are going to get it to include loss of the value because the value will come back up if people can hold the line until it does. >> that is the key phrase there at the end -- hold the line. i am looking at the very specific group. i am not talking about residents willing to wait this out, but those who have lost their jobs,
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have the opportunity, but cannot take the opportunity because of the immediacy of the crisis. >> i hear you loud and clear. it is not a decision that i think anyone in congress will have a vote on. i do not think the president of the united states could weigh in on that. i am willing to take this issue and share it with as many people as i can, but i do not believe that there will be an easy or a happy answer on that for the group of people you're talking about. >> if we do nothing, we achieve nothing. >> other questions or comments? yes, sir. >> i am a local fisherman. thank you for what you have done
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for the fishermen here. yet helped us. i know the real estate agents here are facing a tough time. in the last two years, the fishermen have given up here. if you think it is hard to get a real estate loans, try to get a loan on a boat or try to fix your but if you are struggling financially. we are trying to recover. we are out there working hard every day. the long-term effect as to come from the secretary of commerce. we are facing the shorter season and smallest of limits we have had in our lives. we are going to try to maximize what this we have left to catch. if you can help us with the secretary of commerce and anything that they can do to help us to move the seasons are riled so we can maximize our time on the water, it would be a
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great help because we are on the frontline of this thing every day. our waters here in alabama are still not open. if we do get a trip, we are having to run over 70 miles. we have to go 35 miles in each direction. this is making it really tough. we appreciate what you have done. if you get a chance with the secretary of commerce, please hold their feet to the fire. we need all we can get. >> i will be happy to. all see him in october. we'll invite him to come down. you are right. you have gone through an unimaginable set of circumstances. bp and the oil spill were the
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icing on the cake. you have dealt with high fuel costs. yet dealt with hurricanes. yet dealt with bureaucrats in washington -- you have dealt with bureaucrats in washington. you are the farmers of the ocean and you are selling something that people love to do. it is as wholesome a recreation as you can find, plus it is a great way to keep the environment. i refuse to believe some of the scientist and the people i have heard say, "we do not have any red snapper in the gulf of mexico. i appreciate the compliment, but i also appreciate the challenge. i will call the secretary personally and invite him down. i will invite the head of fisheries down. in terms of alabama water's
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being closed, i talked to a gentleman from fisheries a couple of days ago at a big fishing tournament. they call to ask what they could do to try to get alabama waters opened. it affects federal waters in louisiana and florida. i was given every reason to believe that may have happened by now. now they're saying additional testing these to be done. this is an unnecessary interference as far as a i am concern. >> we appreciate what you have done. do not think it goes unnoticed. this trickles down to me. i try to stay as far from politics as i can. >> you are a smart man. [laughter] thank you. other questions or comments? ideas? yes, ma'am.
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>> we were talking earlier about the lack of credibility that the government and congress has. personally, i think it has to do with the employees that corporations have over the politics in our country. i am is speaking particularly about the recent supreme court ruling allowing corporations to have unlimited expenditures for campaign advertising without disclosure periods i am concerns -- without disclosure. i am concerned about that. i am concerned about the implants lobbyist have over our government. -- i am concerned about the influence lobbyists have over our government.
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we need to limit the influence that lobbyists have. can't you speak a little bit about that whole issue with corporate influence over our politics? >> prior to the supreme court decision, corporations could not give contributions to federal candidates. i do not believe -- i will double check this -- i do not believe that i have ever taken a contribution from a corporation in the eight years i have been your congressman. employees of corporations can perform political action committees and they do. those groups of employees will make political action committee contributions. i am very proud of the fact that in the eight years i have been a
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representative that over 65% of the campaign contributions that i have received have come from people in south alabama and in this state -- families and individuals who was in the $50 or $250. that is the highest percentage of anyone in the alabama delegation for receiving personal contributions. you are right. the supreme court threw out a lot that had been on the books for some time. i am just as concerned as you are about corporate contributions that go unreported, but i am also concerned about the unions that can take dues from their unit -- from their members and not give them a voice in how this reduce our is spent. [applause]
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in terms of lobbyists, i do not want to be -- on an average day, i will meet from may -- i will meet with a lobbyist from the banking industry. it is easily a local banker who is not a lobbyist, but she is lobbying about being able to lend money. i will meet with lobbyists from the senior citizens committee who are lobbying about social security. they are not a lobby. they are a person who came to washington, d.c., to talk to me. they get paid a lot of money. there are calls that are on the books that say if a member of congress retires or is retire by the voters, that they have to wait two years before they can go lobby.
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the president made a big to do that he would not have any lobbyists working in the administration. unfortunately that is a promise he was not able to keep. i hear you loud and clear. he spoke eloquently about your concerns. you do not want others to have and do employment's through campaign contributions received ot want others to have undue influence through campaign chalk -- through campaign contributions. we have to take voting more seriously in this country. in alabama a few weeks ago we had a republican primary. we had a democratic primary.
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how many people six months ago would have predicted that ron sparks would beat archer davis for the democratic nomination for governor? 3 much better known people spent millions of dollarsdr. . bentley would have been the republican nominee. unfortunately, -- fortunately park commissioner sparks and dr. bentley, 24% of the people in this state are registered. half of the people in alabama are not registered. only 24% of